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Geoffrey
Geoffrey
140

pose of either proceeding in person to Rome or sending representatives to plead there for his confirmation in the see of Lincoln. The obstacles of his youth and his birth were overcome by a papal dispensation, and his election was confirmed by Archbishop Richard of Canterbury in the pope's name at Woodstock on 1 July 1175. Geoffrey himself returned to England on 18 July, and on 1 Aug. was received in procession at Lincoln. Henry sent him to study in the schools of Tours before he would allow him to be consecrated. Before Michaelmas 1178 he was home again, for the Pipe Roll of that year contains a charge of 7l. 10s. for the passage of 'Geoffrey, elect of Lincoln, and John, his brother,' from Southampton to Normandy; and at Christmas Henry, Geoffrey, and John were all in England together. For three more years Geoffrey continued to enjoy the revenues and administer the temporal affairs of his see without taking any further steps to become a real bishop, or even a priest. William of Newburgh declares he was 'more skilful to fleece the Lord's sheep than to feed them;' Walter Map, now precentor of Lincoln, who had succeeded Geoffrey in his canonry at St. Paul's, and had long been his rival at court, charges him with wringing exorbitant sums from his clergy (especially, it appears, from Map himself). To his cathedral church he seems to have been a benefactor; soon after his election he redeemed its ornaments, which his predecessor had pledged to a Jew—the famous Aaron of Lincoln—for 300l., and added to them by gifts of his own; he also gave two large and fine bells; he was active in reclaiming the alienated estates of the bishopric, and, according to his enthusiastic biographer, he began the process of filling his chapter with scholars and distinguished men, which in the next reign made Lincoln one of the chief centres of English learning (Gir. Cambr. Vita S. Rem. c. xxiv.) For all spiritual purposes, however, the diocese had been without a chief pastor ever since 1166. In 1181 therefore Pope Alexander III bade Archbishop Richard either compel the elect of Lincoln to receive consecration at once or consecrate some other man to the see. It seems that Geoffrey hereupon appealed to the pope and managed to obtain from him a respite of three more years, but that Henry, having now planned another scheme for his son's advancement, determined to enforce the papal mandate (Pet. Blois, Ep. lxxv. The editor of 'Fasti Eborac,' i. 253, and note n, refers to this letter as written to Roger, dean of Lincoln, and places it in 1174. But no Roger appears as dean of Lincoln till 1195; the letter is addressed simply 'Rogerio decano,' and the mention of the fifteen years' vacancy of the see shows that it cannot have been written earlier than the end of 1181, for Geoffrey's predecessor, Robert de Chesney [q. v.], died at the close of 1166). Accordingly Geoffrey, after consultation with his father, announced his resolve to give up the bishopric. His resignation was formally completed at Marlborough on the feast of Epiphany 1182. Geoffrey, it seems, was a very indistinct speaker, and when he recited the formula of resignation Archbishop Richard twice had to ask him what he was saying, whereupon Map answered for him, 'French of Marlborough,' alluding to a local tradition which said that whosoever drank of a certain well in that town spoke bad French for the rest of his life. The office for which Geoffrey had exchanged his bishopric was that of chancellor of England. To this, besides the archdeaconry of Lincoln which he still retained, Henry added the treasurership of York, the archdeaconry of Rouen, and a string of other benefices and honours, ecclesiastical and secular, among which are mentioned the honour of Wycombe in Berkshire, the 'county of Giffard in Normandy' (i.e. apparently the honour of Longueville-la-Giffart and its appurtenances in the Pays de Caux and the Roumois, escheated in 1164 by the death of Walter Giffard, earl of Buckingham; Stapleton, Observ. on Norm. Exch. Rolls, p. civ), and the castles of Langeais and Baugé in Anjou, with a revenue amounting to five hundred marks a year in England and as many in Normandy.

In 1187 Geoffrey commanded one of the four divisions of Henry's troops against a threatened attack of Philip Augustus; in November 1188 he was entrusted with the duty of securing the Angevin castles against the united forces of Philip and Henry's son Richard; in June 1189, when the unnatural allies drove the king from his refuge at Le Mans, Geoffrey accompanied him in his flight, led the remnant of his body-guard safe into Alençon, hurried back with a fresh force to cover his retreat into Anjou, and never left him again, save on the day of Henry's submission at Colombières, when he begged permission to absent himself from the scene of his father's humiliation. Gerald has left a touching picture of the last scenes at Chinon, when Geoffrey's patient devotion won back the dying king from his ravings against his undutiful children, to die with a blessing on his one loyal son. The chancellor accompanied his father's corpse to its burial at Fontevraud; there he resigned his seal to his half-brother, the new king Richard; and ten days later (20 July 1189) Richard nominated him for the arch-